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December 16, 2009 > Auto Review: The 2010 Lincoln MKT

Auto Review: The 2010 Lincoln MKT

MKT is a brand new Lincoln model for the 2010 model year. It is a three-row, full-sized, luxury crossover vehicle. If you are older than 50 it will remind you of a station wagon type vehicle. It is designed to carry 8 people in luxury environment of leather and many premium features.

The interior of the MKT is very nicely done. Two 12-way power, leather trimmed front seats can be heated or cooled to keep you comfortable at both ends of the temperature spectrum. Also, each row of seats has its own set of climate controls, so everyone can be comfortable at the same time.

It is very quiet inside the MKT because Lincoln engineers have been able to keep most outside noise from entering. Gages are very nicely done; all controls are easy to use, and the navigation screen is also easy to read and use. The steering wheel feels very nice and is easy to grip. There is plenty of leg room for the second row passengers.

On the down side, there is very little headroom in the third row. Unless you are about 5' 6" or so, it would be very uncomfortable to ride back there. A raised section at the bottom of the rear window is hard to see over when using the center rearview mirror and blocks your vision. Also, the center console between the two front seats is higher than it really needs to be and can interfere with the driver's right arm.

MKTs have "Adaptive Headlights." This means the high intensity headlights turn as you turn the steering wheel to make night driving safer. Stability control, ABS brakes, tire pressure monitoring, and a full set of six airbags are additional standard safety features.

One interesting system of MKT is the Active Park Assist System ($595). It uses sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle, working in conjunction with Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), to guide the vehicle into a parallel parking space. Here's how it works:

1. The driver activates the system by pressing a button that enables the ultrasonic sensors to measure and identify a feasible parallel parking space.

2. The system asks the driver to accept assistance to park the MKT.

3. The steering system takes over and steers the car into the parking space hands-free. The driver still shifts the transmission and operates the gas and brake pedals.

4. A visual and audible driver interface advises the driver as to the proximity of other cars, objects and people and provides instructions.

5. While the steering is all done automatically, the driver remains responsible for safe parking and can interrupt the system by grasping the steering wheel.

You have your choice of two V-6 engines for your new MKT. The base 3.7-liter unit develops 268 HP on regular unleaded gas or 270 HP if you fill up with premium unleaded fuel. The twin turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost motor puts out 355 HP at full tilt. Its torque is 350 compared to 267 pound feet for the base unit. Both engines are mated to 6-speed transmissions. The 3.7-liter engine can drive either the front wheels or all four. Our test MKT was a front wheel drive model, and it did have a little torque steer during hard acceleration. The EcoBoost drive train powers all four wheels.

MKT's EPA ratings are 17/23 for the front wheel drive models and 16/22 for the all wheel drive. Weighing in at between 4,680 and 4,924 pounds, EPA ratings show how good today's modern power train management systems really are.

MKTs have a 4-year, 50,000 mile basic warranty. The power train warranty is 6 years or 70,000 miles. 12 months of maintenance is included in the purchase price.

The base (3.7-liter, front wheel drive) MKT starts at $44,995. Adding the all wheel drive system costs an additional $1,995. The EcoBoost MKT starts at $49,995.

My dad loved Lincolns and bought them for the last quarter of his life. If he were in the market for a new car today, I'm sure an MKT would be at the top of his list for its luxury and driving experience.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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